And I Even Changed My Name
“And for four days straight it rained that summer, and thunder and lightning filled our valley’s skies and water ran through the streets, carrying away everything I had been led to believe I was. I suddenly realized that what lay before me within a new name was one part Calling and one part Answer.” – Em Claire
In my twenties I remember reading a book that spoke of a tribe that never celebrated birthdays. Not in the “traditional” sense, anyway. Time would pass – perhaps one year, perhaps many more – until a member of the tribe would one day realize that they had been “birthed” again – had been guided into a new expression of Self – a brand new state of Being. And so, they would announce to the Elders and to the tribe the Next Grandest Version of the Greatest Vision ever they held about Who They Are. And they would announce their new Beingness by choosing a new name for themselves. This name best represented their current vision and vibration of the expression of god/life/love they had newly discovered and then accepted. For it was a dual process: an act of both Intuition and Will, guided by Life as to how they could next best serve Life, and then accepting with great joy the responsibility of their New Calling because surely it would benefit not only themselves, but the entire tribe, and all of Life.
I was raised in a moderately conservative family, although there was freedom to express ourselves, and to choose what felt true to us with regard to religious or philosophical beliefs. As I went through my early years, I was someone who seemed to find “the middle way” – no tattoos or extreme haircuts. No running away with a knapsack in the night to the local bus station, or stealing my parent’s 55 Thunderbird for a joy ride. Probably my greatest transgression was wearing my father’s boxer shorts (over long johns), a man’s blazer, and pumps to school the first week of 9th grade – and perhaps a few “heavy metal” t-shirts later while dating my high-school boyfriend, who was a drummer in the “cool but rebellious” heavy metal band back when Heavy Metal still seemed like only a half-step beyond Elvis.
Given all of this, it was a shock to my family and friends when, almost five years ago now, I decided to change my name. It came over me suddenly one day, with the clarity of lightening, and the gravity of the thunder that follows. I understood exactly what I wanted to do, and why it was important, and moved into both the decision and the living of it immediately. And for four days straight it rained that summer, and thunder and lightning filled our valley’s skies and water ran through the streets, carrying away everything I had been led to believe I was. I suddenly realized that what lay before me within a new name was one part Calling and one part Answer.
This is today’s invitation, Dear Ones. And it’s a bold one. If you have been given a name that no longer “fits”, or never did feel like it was meant for you, I am inviting you to change your name. For some of us, we were given the perfect name, and it is only about recognizing it, and fully embodying it: fully “in” “bodying” your name – stepping in – maybe for the very first time – to your body and claiming your True Nature; your unique Gifts. Who have you always known yourself to Be? Why do you feel you came to be on the earth at this time?
When I realized I wanted to change my name, it was as clear a decision as I had ever made, and yet most of me didn’t really “know” what this shift and transition and new territory would look or feel like – which is a kind of Knowing called “gnosis”. A definition of gnosis as described by author Jean Bolen in Like A Tree is this: “a certainty or recognition of the significance of the choice you are making, while not knowing where it will lead, and that others are likely not to understand”.
If the life you are living, the place you are working, the people who surround you, and the person you are Be-ing just no longer seems to fit, there is a message meant for you, coming from deep within you, and from Life to you, and from me to you:
I SEE YOU. YOU ARE NECESSARY. YOU ARE WORTHY. LIVE YOUR TRUTH. I LOVE YOU.
There. Now, Let’s Begin Again.
If this writing was meant to find you, and this feels “right” for you, I recognize that this is a sacred journey for all, as well as a scary journey for some, at first contemplation. And for those who feel apprehension, my suggestion is that you take some time with this now that the idea has been planted. Hold this contemplation close to your heart and dream upon it. When you find the name that best represents your next expression, wear it around the house and smile internally at the Brightening that is taking place within you (for this is how you know it is the Name for You!). Enjoy the process, and let it be the beginning of the New Medicine you will live as Who You Really Are, as well as the Good Medicine you will bring to all those around you in the coming times.
It should sound right, and feel right in your tummy when you say it, or see it, or think about it. It should make you feel more of everything good, because this is the power of your truth, and it is also the power of words. Words plant seeds of Light when we use them with consciousness and powerful intention. Your name should be a Torchlight; a Beacon for the coming ages; a Radiant confirmation that continues to light your way until you are living every bit of that name, and even beyond, to a place where you may not care if you have a name at all. But let the stepping into it fully be a wonderful growth process, knowing that you are setting the bar higher than before, and that it will take some adjusting, some stretching, allowing for a few awkward moments, and bringing tenderness to the great courage and commitment to live the name. I ask you – what better Talisman to wear?
It may be that you immediately know what name you will swiftly move into, or you may not. Either way, I suggest that you create a ceremony for the Stepping In. You are Declaring and Claiming your Self. You are calling your Self in, which is very different than living life by default, waiting to one day finally pass on, sort of half-hoping that nobody will have noticed that you were never really here in the first place…
In my next blog I’d like to offer examples of Ritual and Ceremony from various cultures, giving you a place to start that you might build on to further personalize your own ceremony. It’s enough simply to consider a name change, and so for now, we will touch on how to go about practicing graceful, easy ways to present this new choice to loved ones as you begin to move toward your fullest expression of your True Nature – your next Birth Day.
Family and friends may feel threatened, because no one likes change, initially. But they also may respond negatively for a deeper reason, which you can understand at the most empathetic and compassionate level, because it is exactly where you, yourself, had been hiding out until now. They, too, want to know Who They Really Are, and to be Seen and to bring their precious Gift. Perhaps with the ease and grace with which you exemplify stepping into your new name and Expression, it will give them the permission to one day live their greatest expression and authentic truth, whatever that looks like to them. You never know whose life you’ll affect by living your personal truth.
Note: I realize that a name change is certainly not the only way to “find” one’s self. But if this is one way that helps to empower a person to break the chains that bind them in a life that has nothing at all to do with Who they Really Are, then it can be an important first step. A stepping out, and a stepping in, if you will.
Here is an example of how one might go about sharing a change of name with loved ones:
“Sweetheart(s), I’d like to have a moment with you to share something that’s important to me, when you have the time. It’s no big deal, and yet it is – to me. I’ve decided to change my name to one that feels like it “fits” me better, much like you know when a shirt you’ve had for a long while has sort of “shrunk” too much to feel very comfortable in. Even though you still love it, and it has that wonderful familiarity, it’s no longer functional. And so you pack it away, as a wonderful keepsake and bless it. This is exactly how I feel about the name I was given. But now, it feels like time to step into something a bit bigger, something to grow into. I hope that you can play with me with this, and allow me to enjoy this process. It just feels right. And if ever there comes a time where you have the same impulse, I promise to come to your “I’m Changing My Name Party” and will show up in full support! Thank you for taking the time to let me share this with you. It means so much to me to include you in this adventure and to know that you are alongside me, even if it doesn’t initially make much sense and will take some getting used to. All I ask is that you do the best you can.”
Feel free to use the above example as a baseline and change the wording to something that sounds like your own delivery. Or use it just as it is. You have my blessing! Whenever your time comes, write it on an index card and carry it with you and read it to everyone you care about, or bump into, who wonders why you changed your name.
You might consider keeping the Sacred meaning of your name to yourself if you feel drawn to, and say simply that you love the sound and feel of it. The deeper meaning of your name is the energetic, powerful contract you’ve entered into with this Great Mystery called Life and the very reason your soul came here to experience the human journey.
Until next week, a poem to hold onto:
While You Were Out
While You were out,
many things transpired.
A sky was born.
Love & Laughter married.
Ten Thousand suns were birthed.
I awoke a Butterfly,
my wings burst into song,
and I even changed my name
While You were out.
Planets began to dance,
and all colors traded hues.
Stars turned themselves into ocean bottoms;
Grasshoppers into Gazelles,
and I left the earth
All while You were out.
‘While You Were Out’ Em Claire – Copyright 2007 All Rights Reserved